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Archive for the ‘Oopsie Discovers’ Category

Communicating love for my favorite artist, Ben Harper.

You’ve most likely heard of love languages. They are the method you use (probably unconciously) to receive and give love. It’s your natural instinct telling you to hug your friend (physical touch), give encouragement (words of affirmation), visit a family member (quality time), give a meaningful gift (receiving gifts) or serve someone (acts of service). Love language, just as it sounds, is the way in which you communicate love. We all use a combination of the aforementioned but what do we rely on primarily to show love?

Typically, I think it’s easier to identify what someone else’s love language is than to identify your own. For example, my husband and mother are servants. They would do anything for you, even help you clean your house (yuck). Others of us love to just hang. We’re quality timers and this group includes myself.

As my years of life drift from few to many it becomes a bit more challenging to communicate love. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m busier. Or because I don’t want to exchange a mushy, hokey moment. Perhaps I’m worried about rejection…I’m not really sure.

What I do know is, uncomfortable or not, inconvenient or not, we must tell/show our friends and family we love them. It’s required stuff. Jesus did it so it’s probably about as good for us as brussell sprouts, maybe better.

Showing and receiving love is easier when you know the language. Answer the question via this link to understand how you communicate. Then, ask your spouse, a best friend or family member if that love language sounds legit for you. Their feedback will help you determine not only how you’re perceived but also whether you’ve communicated a healthy dose of l-o-v-e.

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Pregnancy allows me to recognize yet another thing we have in common as humans. We ask really inappropriate questions during inopportune times. During my pregnancy (I kid you not), I’ve heard all of the following:

  • “So, how much weight have you gained?”
  • “You’re getting Bi-Ig!” (for some reason people feel the need to sing the last word)
  • From a co-worker (not friend): “Are you coming back to work?”
  • Again, from a co-worker screaming across a cubicle: “Did you pass your glucose exam?”
  • More than one complete stranger on the elevator ride to work: “So, when are you due?”

Aside from the occassional verbal assault I’ve also taken note of non-verbal behaviors such as co-workers passing me and saying hello all the while staring straight at my rotund baby belly (eh-hem, mountain). I imagine they’re thinking one of the following phrases: “Wow she’s getting bi-Ig” or “Getting close” or worse, “Is her water going to break at work? Would I have to clean that up?”

Other non-verbal observations include the anxiety a round belly causes some folks. They have a case of Butterfly McQueen’s sentiment in Gone with the Wind–“I ain’t never birthed no babies!”

I get it, I get it, in your eyes I’m a ticking time bomb. When my water breaks, I’ll try to keep myself from aiming at your shoes.

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The phrase “pants on the ground” takes on new meaning in maternity. Early on, when Reed’s baby bump was just that–a bump, I wore the belly band to keep my regular pants from exposing my crack or allowing my pants to fall to my ankles during a meeting at work. Though the belly band is raved about among maternity circles I must say it’s not a perfect solution. During my day, the band and pants would separate so that under my shirt I resembled a white trash pregnant chick sporting a tube top.

Eventually, once the Reed bump developed in to a small mountain I graduated to full fledged maternity pants. I wish I could sing the various praises of the exalted maternity pant. Alas, I cannot. As with stilettos and the strapless bra, I am convinced these banded pants were created by a man. I find myself constantly pulling them up and wishing for old man suspenders. It’s much like the discomfort most women feel wearing tight undergarments except these are your pants. If they fall, humiliation, degradation will ensue. Keeping them on ensures you still have a shred of dignity in spite of your co-worker constantly asking how much weight you’ve gained and whether you’ve taken the glucose tolerance test yet. As long as you can still hold on to your pants, you’re still somewhat human.

All in all traveling pants and shaky pride are a small price to pay. Of course, if Reed ever asks I’ll tell him I just don’t know how I survived the months of pants wrestling and a big, fat belly. (I won’t have to mention the part where I actually enjoyed it.)

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I just polished off an insane amount of Dreyer’s Nestle Drumstick ice cream. That’s right. A delicious combination of vanilla ice cream, caramel swirl, peanuts and chocolate covered cone chunks passed happily through my belly, telling baby “hello” on its sojourn through my tummy. Yum. I love food.

As previously confessed, I’ve always loved food. But there are certain things, as a pregnant gal, I find especially appealing. This list includes and is not limited to: All things vitamin Cish including lemons, oranges, lemonade/limeade, etc. Multiple lemons in ice water is a nice treat or orange juice with breakfast (or dinner).

My cousin turned me on to Carnation Instant Breakfast where I discovered a healthier, more baby friendly version of the milk shake. In a blender, you place the chocolate powder (I use two packets), 1/2 cup of ice, 3/4 cup of milk and half a frozen banana. Ever since I began drinking these, at approximately 2 in the afternoon, I begin to crave one. Last night, I passed on the salmon Austin was cooking for a big, fat shake. They are delicious (and nutritious).

Other cravings are pretty regular for me. Sweets remain a staple. Right now, with all the delectable Easter goods I find myself gourging on Reese’s pieces eggs or Cadbury creme eggs. The creme eggs have always been a favorite of mine.

So, for all the friends out there reading my blog, please know you haven’t been permanently replaced. Currently, food is my best friend. However, I predict a fair weather romance. After the baby makes an appearance and the realization that food left me with a wider behind and bigger thighs, I’ll renew my vows to all the homegirls who satisfy my craving for friendship, sans calories.

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A Friday Confession

Cheeseballs were my first food love. A gourmet from the beginning, there are several pictures of a very fat baby me with cheeto-like substance smeared across a big grin. My mother was such an enabler, she left me a can of cheeseballs in a cabinet I could get to easily in the kitchen. In her defense, she also made my baby food from scratch and my typical diet consisted mostly of green things and liver (yuck).

Fastforward to today. I still love eating. Cheese balls still hold some appeal, although I never buy them. And here’s my Friday confession: I’m sure I love eating; what I’m not sure about is whether I love cooking. This may bother a few people since I received more than one really great cookbook this Christmas and another for my birthday (thank you). I’m discovering that, compared to those who really love cooking and consider it a challenge, what I mostly love is consuming. Consuming is wonderful and gratifying and delicious. Cooking on the other hand is time consuming and involves me lifting a finger after work when I’m tired. Cooking also requires chopping things (which I hate) and planning ahead (which I’m not great at).

When Austin and I first married, I cooked a good bit. He went through an MBA program a year after our marriage and it was mostly up to me to put the literal bacon on the table. This was a really fun time and I discovered lots of fun recipes from various cooking shows, on-line sources and cookbooks. But, now that we’ve been married nearly six years, the thrill is gone.

Maybe the cookbook library I’ve acquired will serve as inspiration on a delectable platter. Perhaps, as I peel back each page, I’ll discover a world of food I thought possible only in restaurants. Then, I’ll whip up a cooking fury with these new recipes inviting friends and the homeless to enjoy a meal together. I’ll save the world from my kitchen with my chopping knife and perishable goods. Yeah, we’ll see…

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Book Burn

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. What do all of these book titles have in common? Aside from making me sound way smarter than I actually am, they are all titles which gave me book burn. Book burn is the term I’ve coined for situations when I pick up a book, begin to read and lose interest/get bored/get distracted/ETC.

Here’s how it works: You find a book which entices you. Looking at the description you think “I’ve always wanted to know this” or “this sounds really entertaining”. Your pulse kicks it up a notch and hands sweat as you punch the “BUY” button on Amazon or Kindle or hand a sweaty wad of cash to the register guy at Barnes and Nobles or Half Price. Taking the book home, you delve in to it. And, rather than hanging on to every word as you imagined previously, you begin to stall. Things happen like a Law and Order marathon comes on TV and even though you’ve seen every episode you think “what they hey” and get sucked in. Outside your window, birds begin to have personalities, talking in thick New York, Jewish accents, and you imagine their conversations: “Larry, I told you to get the juicy worm this time. How many times do we have to go through this?” What’s happened here is book burn.

Book burn is the psychological state of losing interest in your previously beloved book. I’ve spoken with friends who are avid readers and noticed we all deal differently with this. My friend, Janice, gives the book 100 pages to redeem itself. After that, she gives up, believing life’s too short. Oopsiehubby, Austin, tries to make it through the book come hell or high water. He has principles. And, me? Well, I have no principles. I allow myself to be carried away by bird conversations and TV marathons until the guilt of leaving yet another book to the dust subsides. Then, I pick up my next victim.

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My quest as a wannabe writer led me to the Creative Writing department at University of Houston. I had a 2 o’clock meeting with Professor Serpas to find out about their masters program. Leaving work a bit early, I sailed to the UH campus, heart beating wildly as I, in typical fashion, got lost on campus and called Austin in a panic for directions. Parking in a lot without permit, my nerves soared at high altitudes as I crossed to the building. I was petrified of being late, making a bad impression. Entering the building, knocking on the prof’s door, I discovered she was the one running late. So, I sat down to wait.

After a few minutes, Prof. Serpas walked by and, without looking at me, mumbled something like “yes, come in.” I sat across from her and instantly felt dumb. There’s something about professor’s offices, all filled with books and stuff, that really causes someone like me to internally convulse while simultaneously hyperventilating. Looking professorial (aka smarter than me), she asked why I wanted to meet. Come to think of it, that was the thesis of the whole day. And, I blanked. Incoherently, I told her I was almost thirty and in search of a career I felt passionately about. Maybe, “this thing” for me was to write. She stared. So, I stared. And, instead of breaking the silence, I waited for her response.

She wanted to know more. I told her about my continuing ed class I took, how the prof commented on my “gift for description” and that I didn’t feel confident telling the story. Instead of finishing, I just ended it. “So you have a problem with plot” she said. I felt some hope, we were communicating and, maybe just maybe, she would diagnose me as a talented writer, with a simple, minor plot problem. I imagined this would be similar to a doctor telling someone with a cough they are allergic to dust and they don’t have swine flu afterall.

Hope still lurking I said “This plot problem is probably pretty common, right? I mean, you probably get that a lot.” She didn’t say anything. Rather than affirm I was like other writers, struggling in my craft, she responded with a prescriptive solution. “You need to read…” (and then began to list names). Continuing, she said “The best way to learn to write literature is to read it.”

Great. I read already. This was not the simple solution I hoped for. All I wanted, really, was to open a fortune cookie. The message would either read “God wants you to write” or “Stop writing. You are wasting God’s time.” But, as we all know, life and God don’t really work that way.

Leaving the prof’s office, she congratulated me on my pursuit. “Most people just get comfortable in their jobs and don’t question what their passion is” she said. I thanked her for her time. Walking back to the car, blue sky overhead, I wondered whether some people are destined to search for their passion throughout life. Maybe that was my destiny. Or, maybe I’ll open a fortune cookie and, in typical fortune cookie fashion, it will tell me something like “If you want the rainbow, you must put up with the rain.” It’s a good thing God communicates outside of fortune cookies.

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